For the last year or so, Square Enix has announced several social titles for the existing brands — including titles like Bravely Default: Praying Brage and Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade. Other titles include Guardian Cross and Final Fantasy: All the Bravest, which feature a specific style of gaming that was popularized in Japan called “gashapon”. These games generally have design decisions that funnel a player’s attention towards micro-transactions to continue playing the game, as well as other design aesthetics.
Well according to Square Enix’s Takehiro Ando, who serves as an producer for the company’s mobile/social gaming division, this is going by the wayside. NeoGAF member Goli translates Ando’s post from the Famitsu App called Smartphone Game ★ Revolution:
“Anyway, today’s entry is called “Good bye, social games. In it he discusses how since the release of SE’s first social game, Knights of the Crystals, many other similar, or in some cases, identical games have appeared and taken over the mobile gaming platforms, which has led to basically everything being a reskinned version of other games, specially the ones that involve card collecting and gacha.
He admits SE is also guilty of this, since they have a lot of games that follow this pattern like Circle of Mana (which came out yesterday), Guardian Cross, Million Arthur, etc. While these kinds of “games” have drawn in a lot of new gamers, the old gamers, the ones used to console and handheld games, are being shunned, which is why this year they’re planning on not releasing social games and instead release high quality games that appeal to “hardcore” gamers.”
What does this mean for Final Fantasy fans? Well, there’s a lot one could draw from an appeal to the “hardcore audience”, but it may be reasonable to conclude that Square Enix is renewing its focus to strengthen its core Japanese brands. At the end of his message, Ando mentions towards the end of this year, Square Enix Japan will be releasing many high quality titles in succession that have been developed in-studio.
Currently, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn is projected to release by summer and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is scheduled for this fall. It has led some to speculate that other titles that have yet to be announced our updated recently (Okay, I’ll just say the V-word: Versus) may be coming sooner than we think. But: to clarify — this could mean titles that are more akin to what we expect from consoles and handhelds; this isn’t indicative of a platform jump or just a focus on console AAA titles.
Do you appreciate this new approach from Square Enix or would you rather see more social titles in the future? What big new games do you foresee coming in the future from Square Enix Japan? Leave us a comment with your thoughts below!